High school is the bridge to college. It is the place for students to hone their academic skills, develop extracurricular interests and expertise, and prepare themselves for life beyond high school. Fairhill provides a college preparatory curriculum for the student with various learning differences.
The advantages of the LD high school are numerous, but one key advantage is a skilled and knowledgeable faculty. Not only are they experts in the content that they teach, but they have a deep understanding of what the LD student requires to successfully transition to college. Helping students become independent learners who are confident in their own abilities is essential. These teachers guide and support the students as needed to ensure they have the skills and work ethic that will assist them in any future endeavors.
Students are offered personalized attention during class rather than hours of after school tutoring that interferes with important extra-curricular activities. This personalized attention allows the students to develop a close working relationship with the teachers where the students can freely seek assistance and ask questions. The small class sizes ensure that teachers have the necessary time to devote to each student. The entire staff teaches and supports methods of organization, study skills, time management skills and prioritization of work. It is an entire support system of adults and peers who recognize that “learning difference” does not mean “incapable of learning.”
Fairhill teachers understand that there are numerous learning styles and offer a variety of strategies to help students maximize their learning. There is an absence of “cookie cutter” teaching. The content is embedded with “learning to learn” activities including note taking skills, test-taking strategies, as well as strong reading, writing and math skills. More classroom time is devoted to extended lessons to avoid pushing students through material and to provide any necessary reteaching that may be required. Teachers strategically incorporate hands-on and co-operative learning activities in order to engage all learning styles. Finally, students learn self-advocacy skills in order to effectively communicate their learning style and needs to others.
Balancing the academic program with the extracurricular programs is essential. The extracurricular programs provide the option for high school students to develop specialized skills in the arts, athletics, technology, journalism, and student government. Extra-curricular activities afford students with leadership opportunities where they learn to organize, communicate, and execute self directed programs. Students are allowed to balance a rigorous academic program with extra-curricular interests.
The small high school environment that Fairhill offers ensures students have many opportunities to develop. The combination of strong skills, confidence, and a strong work ethic is the hallmark of a successful Fairhill graduate.
Contributed by Jennifer Allen, Teacher, Fairhill School